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No access after midday: The strangest hotel pool rule I’ve ever seen

Nov. 02, 2021
5 min read
No access after midday: The strangest hotel pool rule I’ve ever seen
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Rooftop swimming pools in Central London are not common. Real estate space is at an absolute premium, and the often gloomy skies in the United Kingdom can mean that, most of the year, it's not ideal outdoor swimming weather.

When it's a warm and sunny day, however, it's glorious to have access to a rooftop pool.

That's why I was so excited to stay at the new Mondrian Shoreditch London hotel recently.

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I knew from my research that the hotel had a rooftop restaurant, as well as a small swimming pool. When I checked in I was advised that breakfast for all guests was served on the rooftop and the next morning I enjoyed a delicious a la carte breakfast in a fabulously bright, renovated space that made me feel like I was in sunny South Beach, Miami, without needing to leave the gritty Shoreditch neighborhood in London.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

During breakfast, I spotted the small rooftop swimming pool next to the restaurant. It wasn't large, and there were no sunbeds nearby to relax on. With such limited space to work with, most of the rooftop has been used for the restaurant.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

This made sense to me since I assumed most guests would be more interested in a hearty breakfast each morning than a dip in the pool if they could only choose one or the other.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

I asked the rooftop staff about the restaurant and pool opening hours. After all, it would be a lovely spot to watch the sun set across the city on a warm evening with a cocktail in hand.

The staff asked if I was staying at the hotel and I told them I was, even showing them my room key. They abruptly told me the entire rooftop was closed "for a private function" from midday onwards. While this seemed a little unusual, I thought perhaps it was a one-off.

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When I checked out of the hotel I asked about the pool and rooftop restaurant and was advised it was completely off-limits to all hotel guests every single day starting midday.

Review: Sexy in the city: A review of the Mondrian Shoreditch London hotel, an Accor Live Limitless property

Why?

Because the rooftop is shared with the Curtain Club, a private members club next door. Hotel guests can use the space from 7 a.m. until midday and then it is reserved exclusively for the private members club for the remainder of the day.

I mentioned to the front desk manager that this was a strange rule, to which he replied that a number of guests had commented the same thing.

While I'm positive there was no mention of this rule when I booked back in early September (I do my research before booking a hotel), there is now a small "blink and you'll miss it" disclaimer on the hotel's website:

Mondrian Shoreditch also hosts a [24-hour] gym as well as a pool, which is available for guests from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

I contacted the hotel to ask them for a comment on this rule, and they extended their "sincerest apologies regarding [the] pool policy."

"Though our website now shows the pool opening hours this should have still been communicated to you at check-in," I was told. The note added that there are two businesses (the hotel and private club) occupying the building, and said they "try [their] best to accommodate hotel guests and club members."

"However," the response concluded, "I definitely understand your frustration in finding out that you could not access the rooftop at certain [hours]."

Bottom line

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

This relationship between this luxury hotel and the private members club next door is a strange one.

With only one rooftop they are attempting to keep both groups happy with separate access hours. The problem is that hotel guests only receive five of the 24 hours each day that the space could potentially be used, which is likely to irritate high-paying hotel guests, especially in the summer months when rooftops are particularly sought-after amenities.

Perhaps allowing hotel guests access from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., before giving the space to others to party the night away, would be a better compromise.

This is a really fabulous hotel and the half-amenity rooftop rule was really the only thing I disliked about my stay.

Featured image by (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy.)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023